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View Diary: Gun Owners Should Have the Equivalent of a Pilot’s License. (194 comments)

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  •  Thanks for the thoughtful reply (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    I agree with your suggested new restrictions, e.g., on ammo clips, among others.

    I think your statements about the other restrictions that I mentioned are not entirely accurate.  There are plenty of "laws" that involve restrictions on speech, etc., and much case law that affirms these.  It is most certainly illegal to threaten the President's life publicly, even if no one "acts" on that threat.  Libel is most certainly actionable.

    As for how such restrictions come into being, presumably the democratic process ultimately contributes, even if not through direct referendum.  Sure, it seldom works well or smoothly, but the point is that we are, or should be, able to reach consensus agreement on some restrictions, and the Republic hasn't come crashing down as a result.

    Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

    by dnta on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 09:40:29 AM PST

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    •  There are certainly defined torts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dnta, 43north, BusyinCA

      that can arise from telling lies about people, but again, those depend on a showing of actual harm done. Elizabeth Taylor finally won one of her suits against the National Enquirer, and Sandra Fluke could probably win a claim against Rush Limbaugh, but the plaintiff has to bear the burdens of both cost and proof in such actions, in which the state (executive branch as in prosecution for crimes against said state) plays no role. There is no such thing as "No Yelling 'Fire' In A Theater Act" or a "Thou Shalt Not Spread Gossip Act" and probably never will be.

      Communicating threats - to the President or anybody else to the effect "I'm going to kill [so-and-so]" is a crime, but saying "Dan Marino should die of syphilis and rot in hell" is not a crime on anybody's books. The only person convicted of being responsible for murders someone else committed - ostensibly because the murderers were incited by a speech - was a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, as I recall. That prosecution took decades to even be charged, much less get to court.

      We'd all like to see meaningful action to prevent gun violence in our society. The questions revolve around what can be concretely done while still preserving the constitutional rights of the people, and when dealing with constitutional rights there will be whole avenues of action that won't be allowed. Rights under other amendments - like the first - cannot be abrogated wholesale for the purpose of abrogating rights under any other amendment - like the second. That dog don't hunt (as they say in my neck of the woods).

      Even if a serious effort at repealing the second amendment in toto were to be launched, it would still take many years before it could bear fruit. We need to do what can be done now. So I'm for being rational about it rather than emotionally distraught.

      •  We're in agreement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        especially on the goal of reasonable, short-term measures, which I think would have the added benefit of diminishing the NRA's influence.

        On speech/press and the 1st amendment, the burden of proof for Libel is much higher for public figures/celebrities than for ordinary citizens.  If your local town newspaper's editor happened to dislike you, and published a front-page article claiming that you were a child sexual molester (with no evidence), that editor would be liable for damages without much of a burden on you as victim.  You wouldn't have to show much "harm" beyond the falsehood of the claim itself.

        Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

        by dnta on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 11:54:03 AM PST

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